As summer fades to fall in San Francisco the weather can still be quite pleasant, but some of that nasty, foggy, June gloom subsides and what I like to call the “real SF” begins to return. It's so beautiful outside during these times that it's hard not to be out enjoying the city… that is exactly what we do with our Marin Headlands Photography class.
A group of 12 Eager photographers of various experience levels met Jean Day and me in sunny Sausalito for the start to our full day of photography and exploring San Francisco from behind the lenses of our cameras. After a brief orientation we loaded into our van, and set off for the headlands and our first location.
We made our first stop high atop the headlands looking over the city, and Golden Gate. White clouds streaked the sky, and it was a perfect, post-card scene to start the day…also a perfect place to work with our circular polarizers!
Jean and I spent the first portion of the day going over settings, histograms, and polarizers with the class as well as offering a few tips on the composition of the scene. Everyone was enjoying the view and had plenty of great questions to keep Jean and I on our toes!
We went from the bird's eye view of the Golden Gate Bridge to being right underneath it inside the wonderful Fort Point.
This Civil War Era fort is always a high point on our journey. SO much to see, and despite spending nearly two and a half hours inside, time flies so fast it feels like we just arrived and we're leaving again. Once inside Jean and I break the class up into smaller groups and show them about our favorite locations within the brick walls.
Endless doorways, brick archways, dimly lit powder rooms. This fort has so much to offer with different lighting (artificial and natural, and combo) it is perfect to work on learning the different settings for white balance as well as the traditional aperture and shutter speed. In addition to the technical aspects of the locations we also can cover a lot of tips of composition within these locations.
There's so much to see here that we want to give everyone a chance to explore a little on their own and practice what they've worked on thus far. Though it was a little chilly with the wind in the fort, it was a beautiful day and everyone was really excited about the chance of a nice sunset later.
Thankfully the fort closes at 5, which is right when we need to leave to keep on schedule. Who needs an alarm when you have the NPS to make sure you're out by 5.
After a wonderful break in Sausalito for a late lunch and early dinner we set off for Rodeo Beach. This beach is great because it offers some spectacular sea stacks for photography and it feels like you're a million miles from a large metropolitan area.
Lucky for us we arrived to a nice warm glow from the setting sun, and there were enough clouds in the sky to light up as well making for some really nice images. Jean and I helped students learn the magic of the graduated neutral density filter as well as work with the settings to begin to get some of that nice blur in the water as the waves receded.
When the sun finally set we loaded back into the van and drove to the headlands again to get some shots of the Golden Gate Bridge as the last bits of color left the sky and the lights turned on in the city. Lucky for us the sky had some great low clouds and between the final moments of sunset and the light from the bridge the images were gorgeous on the backs of the cameras. This isn't our traditional night course, but it's always fun to get a little experience into this type of photography.
All good things must come to an end so after everyone had captured the bridge with some lights it was time to head back to our starting point so everyone could head home and begin the process of going through their images and reliving the day we spent together.
Until Next Time,
Brian, Jean, and the rest of the Aperture Academy.
P.S. If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.
NOTE: You can see more workshop photos below the comments here.